New Data Connects Popular Acid Reflux Medications with Potential Heart Risks

According to a study by Houston Methodist and Stanford University, certain acid reflux medications are being linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. Researchers scoured over 16 million records from nearly 3 million patients through data mining in search of a linkage between gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, medication, and frequency of heart attacks. The study found that patients taking drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid, had a 16 to 20 percent higher risk of heart attack than those who took H2 blockers, a drug class including Zantac and Tagamet. At this point these studies can only find associations so more conclusive studies are needed to prove if the drugs actually caused these illnesses.

These findings are consistent with previous research from Dr. John Cooke, chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and senior author of the study. Cooke published research showing that acid reflux drugs can inhibit the ability of blood vessels to relax, possibly leading to cardiovascular complications over time. Other studies have shown that proton pump inhibitors increase the risk of a second heart attack.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, one in 14 Americans takes a proton pump inhibitor. With such a large percentage taking this inhibitor, it is it vital to consider potential data mining flaws. Researchers understand that the increased sophistication in this technique may take time to harness and that variables such as preexisting conditions must be considered in a full evaluation. The message for patients is still to talk to their doctor and to not ignore restrictions on the use of duration. As one of the most commonly used medications in the U.S., with more than 133 million prescriptions alone in 2014, proton pump inhibitors remain a contested drug in the medical community and further risks will continue to be assessed.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.